Pilots- Get Off the Route to Retirement

For pilots, there’s a unique crossover between a career and a passion. The career is what you work so hard for, the one that pays the bills and supports families, the one that comes with seniority, travel, adventure and countless nights away from home. Then there’s the pure and simple passion for flight. A passion that was likely ignited at a young age and continues to burn flight hour after flight hour. The one that takes you to the skies, even on your days off. The passion is what started you on this journey, the one thing that makes your job more fun than most, one which you love and also get paid to perform. Not many people can truly say that they have a passion for what they do, but then again those people probably aren’t pilots.

For those with a career that they like, but not necessarily love, the thought of retirement is likely a happy one, but for those with a deep rooted passion, the perspective can be much different. For many pilots, the choice to retire, specifically from flying, is not theirs to make. With a mandatory retirement age of 65 for all Part 121 Operators, there is a hard stop attached to a pilot’s passionate career, at least with a major carrier that is.

Turn off Auto Pilot and Reclaim Your Seat

Pilots, did you know that your career doesn’t have to end the day you turn 65? Instead, it can be the start of a new adventure, a change of course in your flight plan; one that will allow you to keep your coveted corner office in the sky. Independent regional carrier, Cape Air, has several opportunities for pilots reaching retirement age who wish to continue their flying career.

Cape Air’s Gray Gull Program, provides pilots with an opportunity to get off the route to retirement, and continue flying past the mandatory retirement age. Being primarily a CFR Part 135 scheduled air carrier, age is not a factor, only the ability to maintain a First Class Medical. Currently, Cape Air has retired pilots flying from almost every major carrier!

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Cape serves some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, which can be viewed primarily from the left seat of a Cessna 402 or ATR. With a robust route map across the Northeast, Midwest, Montana, USVI, BVI, Puerto Rico and Micronesia, Gray Gulls have the ability to continue their career as a pilot, receive full benefits and get back to the basics of flying. Imagine recharging your career just as you thought you were forcibly reaching the end.

Chart Your Own Course

If full blown retirement isn’t quite what you’re ready for, don’t worry, Cape Air has cockpit opportunities for today’s pilots. Cape Air offers full and part-time pilot positions for ATP/Class 1 medical holders, paid FAA medical, matching 401K, paid vacation and more.

There are two ways you can join the Gray Gulls program to keep your flying career active:

Full-Time: Cape Air pilots bid on a base by seniority with the potential to be in any one of Cape’s 29 pilot bases.  A Gray Gull would likely work a 4-on 3-off schedule (minimum 12 days off per 28) of about 40+ hours a week with overtime available.

Part-Time: Cape Air lists bases where part time pilots are required.  Pilots are scheduled in advance in their base for less than 30 hours per week.  This status can be held seasonally in some bases as well.  (You are on the seniority list for your first year; you will qualify for CASS privileges but dependent on your hours worked you may or may not qualify for certain company benefits.)

Cape Air Gray Gull Pilot

In all scenarios Gray Gull pilots are responsible for housing in their base.  However, if asked to help out elsewhere in the Cape Air network (TDY) and the pilot accepts, a hotel room and per diem would be provided.

Training is accomplished in Hyannis, MA and lasts approximately 4-6 weeks.  During training our Gray Gulls are provided a single occupancy hotel room and paid a minimum of 40 hours per week.

Interested in joining Cape Air through any option in the Gray Gulls Program?

For questions, please contact our Pilot Recruitment team via phone at 508.827.7883 or email at at any time.

Cape Air is dedicated to the development of skilled pilots through Established Pilot Pathways with colleges, universities and partner airlines. The airline offers internal and external gateway programs, which focus on the core development of each individual pilot. Pilots who come from Cape Air’s network, are know in the industry for their skill, world class training and MOCHA HAGoTDI spirit.

Click here for more information on Cape Air pilot careers!


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The Best Way to a Career as a Pilot

Have you dreamt of becoming a pilot for a major airline, but you’re not quite sure how to fully achieve your dream? You’re not alone. Becoming a pilot takes time, money and planning. Lucky for you, Cape Air has a successful program in partnership with JetBlue that can help you take your dream and make it into a reality.

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JetBlue University Gateway Program

The University Gateway Program provides a unique pathway for undergraduate students looking to seamlessly transition from student to professional aviator. Students from an AABI accredited university are eligible to enter the program during their sophomore year. The program offers structured education, training and experience preparing each pilot for their future in aviation. Undergraduate pilots have the opportunity to work as interns at either Cape Air or JetBlue. After graduation, they gain valuable hands on experience as university flight instructors. Once the required hours of flight time has been reached, the next step is joining Cape Air as a Captain for a 2-3 year commitment. After that commitment is met, the pilot is guaranteed an interview with JetBlue. Recent graduates of the program obtained their Captain rank three years after joining JetBlue.The University Gateway Program currently exceeds 350 students at 7 college campuses.

Check out this video and hear directly from Shanti Merriman, a graduate of the University Gateway Program.

Cape Air currently partners with the following Universities:

Bridgewater State University

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona and Prescott Campus

University of North Dakota

Jacksonville University

Auburn University

Inter American University

What are you waiting for? Start planning for your future today!

For more information, email or look for us on campus, or visit your career services coordinator for more information.